Realty Reality

This is SpongeBob Squarepants' house in Bikini Bottom. I wouldn't really want to live here.

Why the floor coverings, too? That was really close to the last straw.

They were using the famous local realtor. Great reputation for selling houses for big profit. Nobody talks about how bossy they are, though. It seemed they’re more concerned about maximizing their reputation. Like it would be beneath them if they sold your house for less than too much. Sure, they made more money at bigger sales, but it was more than that. They really stretched the seller. It’s like you worked for them.

When they originally bought the house, the fashion in real estate sales was a cleaned up front yard and a great new door–curb appeal! There were to be cookies taken out of the oven just before the open house to make the place smell homey. In lieu of baked cookies, the fallback was lighting some Yankee Candles with realtor scents like Vanilla Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle or Clean Sheets with Baked Bread Breeze. But, that was then.

Now, it’s all less is more. Cold granite countertops with nary a fruit bowl, but an $80 flower arrangement is welcome and to be replaced every other day, no spent buds allowed. Also, no fabric–not even curtains–except on a well-styled bed with extra pillows that they pushed you to buy at Target. All to ensure a Marie Kondo/Tiny House minimalism aesthetic only achievable by monks or cartoonists. The latter because they can draw whatever reality they wish. Have you seen Sponge Bob’s house? They never have to figure out where something physically goes. They can simply use their eraser.

The famous realtors are monsters who do not have emotions. They have no empathy or human feelings for things like that mug you got from that conference ten years ago that turned into a great career move or those amazing Timon and Pumbaa life-sized cardboard cutouts from that special premiere screening that the kids got to see.

You were feeling tepid at best about this sale anyway. Your wife got the best job ever. It’s back where she grew up and close to grandparents. You? You can work from anywhere. Bonus, you can charge East Coast rates to clients from your Midwest address. The new house is two-thirds the price and two times the size of your city home. But you would be very happy to stay where you are.

Especially today. When they are coming by with the cameras for the house hunting website and just before the open house next Sunday. Those demon realtors made you invest almost two thousand dollars in fixes and upgrades and cleaning and painting to prep for the sale. Intellectually you agreed that it would pay for itself, but your heart objected to the cleansing of your lives from this house that was a home that knew all of your secrets. All of them.

You felt it the most most, or maybe with finality, when they insisted on pulling up the rugs, to fully expose the wood floors that you had waxed, also at the behest of the brutes. The selling strategy was to open up the rooms visually by removing the clutter of patterns of flowers or geometry on woven wool with a fringe–especially the small section of fringe on the dining room rug that the puppy destroyed. The puppy that grew to that great, fat old dog that you and the girls sent over the rainbow bridge last year. You were saddened especially when you rolled up the rug from the middle bedroom that still bore the faded evidence of  a child’s experiment with dye gone awry.

As you walked down the wooden steps and through the dining room to the front door you felt the hollow echoes of your squared heels hitting the shiny floors, making a sound that hit the bare walls where the mis-framed grade school art hung until last week. You looked around at the emptiness of a house that was overflowed with family and was now stripped to an empty canvas for someone else to color.

You walked out the front door obsessing about the carpets in storage and trying to imagine them in a new house. Really, a new home.

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